05 July 2013

Park Service Receives Niobrara Valley Property

The National Park Services has recently received ownership of land parcels along the Niobrara National Scenic River in northern Nebraska. The property comprises the first NPS-owned land associated with the scenic river.

Eight parcels comprising 185.8 acres was transferred from the Bureau of Reclamation to the NPS, for "management under the Niobrara Scenic River Designation Act of 1991," according to the June minutes of the Niobrara Council.

"In 1952 the BOR withdrew these parcels from the public in anticipation of development of a water project for agricultural and recreational purposes," said Chris Ryan, acting superintendent for the Niobrara National Scenic River. "Since the land was no longer needed for reclamation purposes, in 2009 the NPS petitioned the BOR for this transfer. These are not newly acquired lands, but rather just transferred from one agency to another. The NPS plans to preserve these lands in their natural state and does not plan any construction or development."

"The scattered parcels are located adjacent to or within the confines" of the Niobrara Valley Preserve, owned by The Nature Conservancy, according to Pamela Sprenkle, resource management specialist with the scenic river, which has an office at Valentine. "Several of the parcels are quite tiny (several hundredths of an acre) and located within the banks of the Niobrara, rending them of limited practical value in their current form. The parcels located outside the riparian zone are the more substantial ones. Because these lands are bound by TNC property, NPS will engage in conversations with that organization prior to determining potential usage."